According to the United Nations recent estimates, the current population of the world is 7.6 billion. On a regular basis, approximately 2 billion people worldwide are facing problems in procuring adequate amounts of food to eat or lack the necessary sources to grow it. Affecting more than one-third of the global population, this act as a significant issue that affects and raise concern towards the underlying factors of the human race for surviving. To explore and eradicate other significant issues affecting the society as a whole, it is necessary to address the global food security challenge. The given solution will discuss facts to vividly describe the problems which are very critical in our supposedly modern society (Badami & Ramankutty, 2015).
To start with, the provided definition for food security by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO's) in the World Food Summit of 1996 says that all people who have access to the nutrition of the people food, whether economically, socially and physically to meet their adequate dietary needs leads to a situation called food security. This situation also includes the preferences of food, the quantity and quality of it, and the acceptability of it in the given culture. The means to access menu and the choice of consumption of food (which may vary between cultures, ethnicities and geographical locations) is a prime factor. The power of food and the ability to produce and purchase it act as the determining factor in food security. Any situation of being deprived, neglected, or adversely affected may lead to entirely different scenario, which is the insecurity of food (Badami & Ramankutty, 2015).
Therefore, it is obvious that access to food is a fundamental human right. Whereas various reasons are leading towards a situation where food is being considered as a privilege rather than a power. According to recent researches, the estimates shows that approximately 36 million people starve to death each year. Making it a major reason for the increasing death number in the coming subsequent years. A death every 5 seconds is noted to be due to starvation. Children are the most vulnerable of these 36 million inhabitants (Rotsky, 2018).
There are many extreme reasons who are contributing to the creation of such a situation. Geopolitical differences leading to conflicts, diseases (both infectious and noninfectious), natural calamities such as flooding, drought, climate changes are some major reasons for the rapidly increasing challenges in sustainable agriculture and securing the necessary amount of nutritious food for billions of people (Issues.tigweb.org, 2018). The economic and demographic expansion of the world in total have affected the food security as compared to the last century. People have witnessed the technological advancements around the globe, which singlehandedly modernized the aspects of food production, agricultural reformations, processing of staples and improvements in the market structure of distribution. In the networking of food; hunger and malnutrition are still playing the immense role in threatening and affecting the health and well-being of millions of individuals around the world (MacRae, Welsh and Koc, 2014, p. 1).
Putting it straightforwardly, the world must be capable in feeding at least 9 billion people by 2050. If the demand curve is being optimized, it can be seen that it will increase by 60% than what it is today. Of all the resolutions, set by the United Nations, the most highlighted are achieving food security through improving nutrition and triumphing over hunger. In a list of Sustainable development Goals or (SDGs), endeavors in promoting sustainable agriculture ranks 2nd among 17 others ("Food security and why it matters", 2018).
Questions arise as to why food security amongst all has risen as one of the significant global challenges. Keeping aside the apparent reason of food as the utmost necessity, delivering food between the entire individual’s in a nation and the entire world population is a complex situation.
In a country or preferably at the national level, the food supplies are made sufficiently available either from domestic sources or are imported from other countries. This process is maintained by a regulatory board; which meets the average consumption needs of all citizens of the country results into the availability of food in an adequate manner (Badami & Ramankutty, 2015). As for an individual in a country, the resources and powers needed to purchase food is mainly dependent and determined by the availability of the nation’s foreign exchange to import food from outside; which assures food security within any given society. That is why it had become one of the essential priorities of a country to resource, monitor and provide food the citizens; irrespective of the state of developed or developing. Even in industrially advanced countries like Canada, each year nearly millions, directly and indirectly, depend on food banks. Reports have been submitted to the authorities in the United States, about the inability of more than 30 million people to buy nutritious foods that will help them in maintaining good health (MacRae, Welsh & Koc, 2014). Thus, procuring and distributing food is an immense global challenge as it directly affects the socio-economic and socio-political scenario of the world.
Individual countries are facing the burdens of significant issues like obesity malnutrition and hunger altogether. One in three people in the world suffer from malnutrition right now, and there are several other kinds of the same problem-affecting people belonging to the same community or country.
The rate of diet or obesity-related diseases, which are non-transmittable for instances strokes, certain kinds of cancers, cardiac diseases, etc. are rising in number, and this is irrespective of the developing or developed status of a country. It is a fact that right now, there are more people who are suffering from obesity, than people being underweight. When these two issues are combined, the number counts to almost half the population of the world.
The estimated cost to the world economy of diseases caused by obesity and the number of deaths caused by it count almost $2 trillion. Alongside, there are nearly 795 million people who are suffering from malnutrition, and who are battling with hunger, daily. More than two million people do not have sufficient micronutrients such as Vitamin A, Zinc, Iron, etc. which affects their lifespan and overall health. Almost a quarter of children within the age of five have stunted growths, diminished or low mental capacities and physical strength. Less than one-third of young infants in about 50 low to middle-income countries meet the dietary standards, which are required for growth.
The reasons, which lead to the overall food security challenge:
Population explosion- Despite initiatives being taken by the UNICEF, United Nations, UNESCO and other small organizations, the growth in population is varying between across the world. For example, population growth in Africa has an expectancy of doubling from 1 billion to two billion by 2050. In other developing countries in Asia, the rapid rate of urbanization is increasing day by day. An additional of 2.5 billion residents are projected in urban areas.
Changes in taste and preference- Along with the growth of population, the varied choices in diets are also changing. It is a prevalent factor that with the improvement of socio-economic scenario individuals are undoubtedly prone to opt for options in food, which are more expensive. Diet rich in preservatives, processed food of all kinds including meat and dairy is common consumptions. However, to produce more meat, there is need to provide more grain. It is very essential to sustain the crops that the farmers are growing.
Changes in climate- This is a hazardous factor. About 40% of the landmass of this planet is arid, and given the rapid fluctuations in the temperatures, it will not take long to turn the world into a bare desert, if the overheating continues. At this point, the amount of food that is being produced is only going to sustain half of the population, that too, until 2050.
Water scarcity- This could well be considered a continuation of the above point, which talks about the climate going downhill overall. Water crisis is hovering over our heads like impending doom. According to statistics, about 28% of the agriculture lies in the regions, which are water-stressed. It needs about 1500 litres of water to produce just a kilo of wheat. It takes about 1600 litres of water to produce a kilo of beef. As per calculations, by the year 2050, the need of the water would be doubled, as per the requirements of productions.
Troubled farmers- In countries, which are developed, the percentage of the population who take to farming or growing crops is less than 2%. This also includes the number of people breeding their animals for food. However, with the rise of the food prices with time, very few people are taking to farming as an occupation as they are being left with very less margins. In addition, over-farming is degrading the quality of the soils; irrigable lands are being lost to adverse conditions (Badami & Ramankutty, 2015).
Ongoing activities on the matter are extensive right now, and more people are acknowledging the concern. Health organisations and governments are coming together to form policies which might cater to the question, helping millions of victims all over the world. There are different types of activities which are performed in and around, which majorly focus on the aspect of the retrieval which is related to the element of the functionality which is associated with the proper functioning of the sector which is taken into consideration. In most of the cases, it is seen that the market sector can be considered as one of the most essential aspect, which are related to the functionality of the element. It can be stated here that in recent times, the customers play a very vital role, which forms the essential feature of the aspect. It revolves around the element, which is included into the market area. Most of the people tend to get what they need for the reasonable prices, which is involved into their internal as well as external working.
The ultimate solution to the cause will always be able to provide the undernourished populations with opportunities to earn their breads with an assurance that there will be enough food to sustain them for the coming years and secure the lives of their future generations. More than 70% of the world’s extremely poverty-prone areas are rural areas, where the role of agriculture is supreme as it is the prime activity as a source of income for us. People rely on farming for their food as well as their earnings (Badami & Ramankutty, 2015). This situation also includes the preferences of food, the quantity and quality of it, and the acceptability of it in the given culture. The means to access menu and the choice of consumption of food (which may vary between cultures and ethnicities and geographical locations) is also a prime factor. The entitlement of food and the ability to produce and purchase it is the determining factor in food security. Any situation being deprived, neglected, or adversely affected may and can lead to entirely different scenario, which is the insecurity of food (Badami & Ramankutty, 2015). Agriculture employs a considerable portion of the economically active population, which affects the world economy hugely. The primary factor, which is taken into consideration in the aspect, is related to the employment sector, which forms a crucial point in the life of the people in different ways. People tends to get most of the things differently mainly taking into consideration the functionality, which is related to the aspect. People should have a bright idea of what they are intending to do majorly the sector which they want to be indulged into.
So, one can say that the insecurities which are related to food scarcity can be solved partially or entirely through the implementation of policies formed to supply to the needs. There needs to be more strength on the factor that agriculture needs to develop, and rapidly because as much as the economy is depending on it, the source of food is still agriculture. The contribution of food availability to the import of food at national levels is associated with the capacity of the country to earn foreign exchange. It is not a very realistic idea to widen food gaps through the means of commercial imports. This is because most states have weak prospects than others for foreign exchanges. For some countries, 50% of total export earnings come from food exports. Food aid, which was used earlier to satisfy the hunger of the unprovoked, is no more a common practice. So basically, the policies which help to increase the incomes of the poverty-stricken population, accelerate agricultural and food productivity and enhance the export-import scenario in the country regarding food are the policies in need.
According to the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), the focus is not the security of food. The primary objective is to be able to establish a fair-trading system, which is market-oriented. The action is expected to correct and prevent restrictions in the world agricultural scenario. The framers of the AoA focuses on a need to alter the situation of the mounting production surpluses in certain foods produced in certain developed nations through the rising level of budget support and laws protecting imports.
On the other side, the bulk of developing countries faced a different situation. Instead of excessive support and rise in production surpluses, the case that they met was that of insufficient production in comparison to the agricultural potentials. The example, as a result, has been different in different countries, as the food insecurities in different nations stem from various problems.
If one is to pinpoint methods as activities, which have been taken up in general to improve the situation, they are:
Wiser use of fertilisers- people understand that with the use of synthetic fertilisers, crops are being affected at large. People are taking this awareness more seriously as they know now that the whole source of livelihood and food is agriculture. Making bad crops will be equals to making a bad future. As per studies, the usage of chemical fertilisers has reduced by at least 15%. It is expected that there will be further improvements on the matter and the figures will change.
Food for direct consumption- It is a fact that many of the calories in a mealis lost when they convert into animal feed or other uses which are not edible. If those crops could be used to feed humans directly, they could provide enough calories for about 4 billion people. This might need the place where plants are grown to be changed, but it will not be easy. Farmers growing crops must ensure that their own families are eating from the crops produced by them, or at least selling them to buy other edibles. People need to change diets, and this rectification might cause a change in the cycle of food scarcity. It may not radically create a difference but will undoubtedly add to the larger picture.
Watching the food waste- As per estimates, over a 40% of the food produced all over, the world goes to the bin due to factors like improper storage, incorrect cooking, and inefficient preservation. The United States contributes to being one of the prominent culprits for this and requires an agricultural land base, which can be 8 times more significant than a land base, which is located in India. If the wastage of food could be reduced, especially in India, China and the United States, that could feed 413 million people every year.
Better awareness- It is a fact that knowledge helps to come out of many problems. It is essential to be aware of the global issues which are affecting the growth of human population overall. With advancement of technology, people are being more connected to the worldly affairs. Therefore, to tackle the problems, which are coming on surface, a well-done research and intelligent steps are very essential. For instance, the betterment of irrigation processes and wiser use of water sources are crucial and farmers understand this as a need. The scarcity of water is something which needs to be tackled and to be able to do that, better irrigation methods along with planting crops consuming less water needs to be done.
The Paris Agreement has committed to keep the increase in temperature caused by global warming below 2-degree C above pre-industrial levels, with the intention to limit the rise to 1.5 degree. All over the world, emissions need to lower in level by 80% by the time it is 2050. According to estimates, the food system will be held accountable for the highest amount of GHG emission budget of the 2-degrees, which will leave other sectors with little space. This will be the probable reason to make it impossible to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement. Gradual climate change will change whatever that was possible to be grown, and the variability which makes up rainfall and average temperature will cause climatic shocks taking place more often such as floods, droughts, heat waves and cold snaps. This whole thing will reduce the capacity of lands yielding crops and overall bring down the rate of producing. According to studies and reports, the risk of extreme weather conditions affecting regions, which are significant producers of plants of the world, could become four times higher by the time it is 2040. This whole thing will affect the nature and number of produced crops. This will create a shockwave in the economy as well as lives of millions, probably causing a civil unrest.
The climate change can change the distribution of severity of diseases and pests in livestock and crops. This has the potential to have severe impacts on the production of food and animal welfare altogether. Almost a third of the produced food that is to be consumed by human is wasted or lost, whether it is early in the supply chain (through pests and diseases or post-harvest losses) or later in the supply chain (in consumption and retail). This brings variations in the estimate that is made of the number of crops, which need to be harvested.
The challenging fact understands how the world can come together, and redesign the food system to make it sustainable, healthy, and resilient to climatic changes and to help reach the goals of Sustainable Development and the agendas of the Paris Agreement. The Global Food Security program brings on a same platform the major public funders of the United Kingdom to address the challenges, helping an increase in collaboration and coordination in research and leading the policies to translate into practice.
It is essential to try to maintain the ecosystem as the whole food production deal is depending upon a sound and protected ecosystem. For instance, agriculture uses about 70% of all fresh water, producing around one third of all GHG emissions, which in turn contributes to loss of biodiversity and causes degradation in the quality of the soil. It is to be noted that 69% of the agricultural lands are of degraded value due to various factors. If demand for food continues to grow like it is currently, without sufficient produces, by 2050, the world would be needing 120% more water, 14% more forest, 42% more cropland and will be providing 77% more GHG emissions.
Even with the yield gap closure through SI, the world would need 55% more water at least, 8% more forest, 5% more croplands and produce 42% CHG. There will be the need to use all kinds of technology available, along will the best farming practices by the farmers and experts to ensure that there is an increase in the rate of production, enough to sustain the population in the coming years.
The factor that is even more important is the kind of attitude people have towards food. The amount consumed and the amount wasted should be watched. Food waste and diet changes are factors, which needs more carefulness and attention. The improvement in worldwide literacy should also be hand in hand with this particular issue of food scarcity. It is a fact that ignorance leads to many bad choices. People who suffer from obesity or other diseases could have been cured or avoided had they not been ignorant about what they are consuming. These are factors, which governments should take up more seriously and promote campaigns for. In a condition where people are dying of diseases caused by obesity, malnutrition and other things, sticking on to social stigmas and taboos and not being aware of the nutrition needs of the body would be foolish. Every society has a class who are much occupied in body shaming others. Other factors such as the psychological needs cause a person to choose a particular kind of food habit, which may cause harm to his health in the end.
One of the causes for the occurrence of most of the epidemics is the issue of food security or scarcity, and it has had the population of the world live with fear. Eradication of poverty and hunger is one of the prime goals. Even if people are walking towards the path of a future, which has food secure, people must watch our steps and set our priorities right so that there are no individuals going to sleep hungry.
The factors, which can help reduction of the food crisis in the world, now are:
Supporting small and medium-scaledfarmers-, most of the farmers in Africa are less productive than the farmers in the people even if that was a century ago. There is a need to train the small farmers, and there is a consensus between NGOs and the respective governments that the support provided to the small farmers will be the best way to eradicate hunger. If the small farmers are also rained and encouraged they will be able to produce some number of crops which it cannot fulfil, can at least contribute to the amount of crop production needed to sustain the population. A combination of aids, introduction to better seeds, and education about irrigation methods, which are effective, and fair fertilisers, could help small-scalefarmers up their game and contribute successfully to the revolution that is much needed. However, the problem here is that the rich countries have already involved genetically modified crops as a part of the schemes and have failed to deliver to the aid pledges of poor farmers.
Lessen the consumption of meat- Meat production is supposedly the wasteful use of the limited resources that the world has. Even in this date, 40% of the grain crops are fed to the livestock and fish. It is the most inefficient with the intensive beef farming cases. It has been shown that just 2% of the food that I give to the cattle add the same calories to our body when people consume the meat. This is the reason that the UN promotes the fact that agricultural production must rise by about 60% to feed about 3 billion extra heads by the time it is 2050. The problem, however, is that there is no such international mechanism which will regulate or change the kind of diet people have or the food intake they are choosing.
Target infant nutrition- It is very possible to attain a state free of malnutrition. According to Bill Gates, it has always been within the reach of the people who have the means, to come together and address this issue of malnourishment and poverty. Improvements have been going on in the mannerisms to control and regulate food; however, what is needed is education. It is essential to provide the mother with the right nutritious food right from the beginning of her pregnancy. Malnutrition, as is known, has caused more than a 10% fall in the GDP in the countries affected as it makes the people affected by it weaker and weaker. Therefore, if the government takes up policies, which secure the kind of food the expecting mother is consuming, she will give birth to a healthier child who will be able to fight better with diseases and adversities out in the world.
Reduce poverty- Poverty is something, which primarily affects the eating, habits of individuals. Socio-economic standard of a person determines the kind of food or the diet he would choose for himself or his family. It is a factor, whichis associated to the possibility of eradicating hunger. More trade, open markets, better flow of food- all of these can be accessed with better capital capacity. Successful reduction of poverty in China, for instance, has led to economists predicting that there would be no people who would be left hungry, by the end of 2020. However, this is a long process, and the steps towards achieving this goal are not easy to organize. In addition, malnutrition does not always have to do with poverty. For instance, in India, in spite of an economic boom, there are still instances of malnourishment.
Breaking down trade barriers- in times of distress, politics often becomes a problem solver, more than anything does. That is what happened in counties like Egypt, India and a couple of other countries whose policies of taxes were altered and tariffs dropped on imported food products for accessing cheaper food, faster than usual. By this, they accomplished better results in trade negotiations and set a record in months. By liberalising imports, the benefits have been enormous, for the market and the economy. However, if this has helped some the most, it would be the people who could alter their food habits. Liberalizing imports makes it easier to access more variety food at a kisser cost. This leads to more people being able to afford food. This is a process, which has been successful in making food more accessible to poor people too. However, it is upon all the governments of majority countries to take this step as valid process of helping the world scenario.
From the above discussions, it can be concluded that there are more problems than solutions that can solve the pressing issue that food security is. It is carving lifestyles, mindsets, and so much more. However, other points apart, the most important factors would be the active involvement of the governments and other bodies in power to create, validate, and execute policies, which think of the betterment of the scenario. Another significant step is to educate people about. Education will not only teach about better eating and other values, it would also show the need to be unaffected by social taboos of the generation which are very closely entwined with food security and scarcity. In most of the times, it can be stated that it is one of the most affected areas, which should be always taken into consideration.
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